Friendship Trumps Politics
I show up at 8:00 Saturday morning at Gleason's Gym. The whole way on the subway, I am thinking about criticizing my student, the Judge, for his voting for Obama. It's a reprehensible thing for a Jew to do. And the Judge is a big Jew, one who travels to Israel and whose uncles were killed in the death camps.
I am no Jew. I mean, I am born that way and would defend my Judaism, but God hasn't found me, and I am alone in earth's paradise with no spiritual guide. I do not go to temple, but I feel an obligation to protect the temple. Obama is an enemy at the gates hiding behind the shield of shiny rhetoric.
The Judge doesn't recognize the threat beneath Obama's palaver. There were Jews who believed that the concentration camps were recreational havens.
I go into my office and change into my boxing shorts. The Judge shows up. He has been my student for fifteen years. He is a New York State judge. He is a friend. In the old days, he used to come to my theatre performances and my stand-up comedy. I encouraged him in his photography. We fought each other in a bunch of exhibition fights. When he teaches business ethics courses at NYU, I am often the guest speaker, talking about white-collar crime.
I look at his friendly smile and decide not to accuse him of supporting Obama. In the last four years, politics has become a wedge between people. Obama, who promised to bring us all together, has, as usual, lied and separated us. He is the pain of iodine without its curative features. He accuses the Republicans, justifies the Democrats, and builds a string of barbed wire between us.
I was once a Democrat. I never hated them until Obama spread the feeling that Republicans are greedy racists. I became defensive because I didn't like Obama's divisiveness. I felt that the Democrats were finger-pointers like Obama. Like Democrats don't control over half the wealth and didn't engender racism in the dark South. Like Abraham Lincoln wasn't a Republican.
Friendship trumps politics. I decide not to bug the Judge about his inadvertent betrayal of the Jews. He wouldn't get it. I don't want to lose him as a friend. We are close.
We go out into the ring and box a few rounds. He doesn't hit me in the head because I have brain damage from my pro career. He lands a few great body shots. I have taught him well. He finds the openings and protects himself. I imagine that he could knock me out. I am sixty-five; I am losing it. I break the ice between trainer and fighter and tell him that I think he could beat me now. That's a tough thing to say. He deserves it.
The Turk shows up. He's a friend of ours -- six-foot-three and two hundred and fifty pounds. He was on the Turkish Olympic development team. I use his arrival on the scene to escape the ring. He steps in with the Judge. He leaves his belly open so that the judge can belt him. The judges' fists bounce off like hail on a windshield. They are ice balls against unbreakable glass.
Between rounds, the Turk can't help but discuss politics. He is an ex-Muslim from a quasi- fascist country who thinks he has become a liberal. Erdoğan, an Islamic politician, has become his country's leader. He tells me that Clint Eastwood was a fool at the Republican Convention.
"Give the guy a break," I say to the Turk, who is still in the ring with the Judge. "He is eighty-two and ad-libbing. He's not using the teleprompter like Obama. Besides, he's the entertainment. He's not running for office."
"And Paul Ryan made stuff up," the Turk says.
"They all do. Obama invented himself out of a third-world dream. He is the GQ of the hippy generation. He is the rock star of the tone-deaf. He is the spoiled middle class. He is the yuppie at Occupy Wall Street. He supports stealing other people's lunch boxes."
Another coach, Big John, comes over with his Irish student and asks if he can get Irish a few rounds with the Judge. Big John is a heavyweight ex-pro. He is always smiling, always laughing. His dark black skin makes his teeth shine brighter.
The bell rings, and Irish gets in with the Judge. The Turk comes out and stands beside me. I'm worried that I am going to be covered in liberal tripe. Doesn't he know he's a Turk? Didn't he ever see Midnight Express?
Irish is surprisingly un-Irish. He doesn't try to take the Judge's head off. Usually, the Irish are full of piss and vinegar. But these two tap each other in a dance of simulated violence and act like gentlemen dancing at a college prom. It's nice, fuzzy. Hey, you can't always be violent. Practice is practice, and movement is a dance of pulled fists.
In the meantime, the Turk tells me that he is building plants in Georgia with solar panels and green energy. He sounds like Al Gore, a phony who thinks he invented the internet. An imposter who thinks he can act like God and command the climate. A person who left the White House broke and now is worth millions through his weather schemes. He pats himself on the back, as if to say, "What a good boy am I?"
"I hate oil," the Turk says. "Those Koch brothers."
I tell him I met David Koch at a party, and he's a lot better than that self-hating Jew George Soros, who stole from his own people in Hungary and broke the bank of England.
"I'm going to make money in Georgia," the Turk says.
"That I can respect," I say. "That is capitalism. Unlike our socialist president, who wants to divide up shares of everything but sure isn't allowing anyone to move into the White House with him. Do you think he uses food stamps at the White House dinners? He is campaigning so hard because he doesn't want to give up his spoiled lifestyle. He is omniscient like Zeus while he is turning his country into a simulacrum of broke Greece."
Judge and Irish are hugging. They are complimenting each other on not going too rough. I had a rougher time talking to the Turk. I love him, but he is so prejudiced against capitalism. He doesn't realize that he is avid businessman. In the meantime, he plans to milk the South with solar panels and windmills.
That's right, Turk -- close down the coal mines, don't drill, forget nuclear energy. Build electric toy cars. Race a golf cart at NASCAR. Those ideas have already cost the taxpayers billions. Sometimes I think that Al Gore will go down in history as a shot of methamphetamine waking the American Dream into a hallucination of failure.
Maybe Obama is the linguistic idiot-savant son of Al Gore's dream of green energy. When is Obama going to wake up out of his sophomoric approach to alternative fuels? When is he going to light the fuse of his retirement and leave as a naïve one-term president? What is the first letter of his name? O-zero-bama. He hurts the friendly zeitgeist of this country like an angry, antiquated communist. His ideas are collective and communal. His results are a bankrupt country whose defenses have been weakened.
Obama quotes Reagan, but unlike Reagan, he has weakened our economy and our military. The communists tore down that wall because Reagan was powerful. He had our backs. Obama is leading from behind and failing to cover us.